Hey, remember when the “TV” in “MTV” stood for television? I know, I know. Those were the good old days, weren’t they? It was a time of Real World/Road Rules Challenges. A time filled with programming keen on fake reality and after-dark Tila Tequila madness. It was a time long after the “M” stopped meaning “music,” though long before the “TV” was restricted to a simple box in one’s living room.
Enter the MTV O Awards, a ceremony held last Thursday (because, as Rebecca Black so poignantly put it during the telecast, “Everybody knows Thursday is the new Friday”) that had absolutely nothing to do with television. Or, well, conventional television, that is.
The network’s attempt at becoming more technology-laden featured such online-centric awards as the “Best Fan Cover” (Alex Goot’s take on Britney Spears’ “Hold It Against Me,” to which he replied “I totally did not expect to win this at all, seeings I’m just a dude from the Internet.” No kidding); “Best NSFW Music Video” (30 Seconds To Mars simply can’t get any more annoying); and “Best Tweet” (you guessed it: Kanye West).
As The Associated Press put it, “The whole affair generally came off as low-rent, with mostly middle-tier acts performing, a lack of polished hosts and a generally canned feeling, despite all the attempts to equal the Web’s democracy.”
And they were being kind.
It’s not that the idea was a bad one — honestly, with the network’s movie awards already an afterthought and the VMAs having introduced different categories more aimed at an Internet-loving crowd in recent years, something such as this was a good idea for a next step. Unfortunately for the people who decided to sit down and give that new idea a chance by watching the online stream, that’s just about all it ended up being — a good idea for a next step.
The Brooklyn duo of Matt & Kim served as hosts, smiling into every camera they could find and offering what ended up being embarrassingly sloppy performances of their better-known songs. Pre-taped packages occurred when winners accepted their awards, some speaking as though they had no idea what was going on (hello, Ms. Gaga), others speaking as if they knew they would never be on “television” again (hello, Mr. Goot). The aforementioned Rebecca Black was seen reporting from some type of party she was clearly 10 years too young to attend as others awkwardly danced around her. And this was all from Las Vegas. Why, you ask? Because why not, they say.
So, what good came from this? Well, two things, actually. One, in case you missed the last two paragraphs, this was a good idea. It’s something other awards show entities will flock to as the years go on (what? you mean to tell me there won’t be some type of Web-related aspect to the Academy Awards ceremony in 50 years?). It’s just that the execution was poor. And that’s all. You can’t blame MTV, a network that has been more criticized in the last 20 years than any American president, for looking forward when thinking about music, technology and television. It would be a shame if the network let this first go-around be the last. A few adjustments, some higher-profile names, a better game plan, a more structured approach and a few more interesting tweaks, and you could have yourself an awfully successful venture.
Which now leads me to the second good thing to come from all of this. Andy Grammer. Wait, who? He won the award for “Most Innovative Music Video.” Having no previous idea who this guy was, seeing his tool-ish, cookie-cutter acceptance speech quickly forced me to dismiss him as another Alex Goot. Upon further review, though, I was proved wrong.
Click here, and you’ll see what I mean. As long as your Internet connection isn’t archaic, his video for the summertime pop, Jason Mraz-y “Keep Your Head Up” is a pick as you go-type venture. Every 30 seconds or so, the viewer is able to choose what happens next in the video, without ever really skipping a beat. It’s neat. And it’s also something that would literally be impossible to occur in today’s world without the help of the Internet. Seeing such a thing on VH1 or MTV — which, by the way, if you decide to try and look it up on You Tube, you’ll get the normal stereotypical pop music video, so for those already typing in “You Tube Andy Grammer” in the top right tool bar, stop and actually follow that link I provided above — would suggest this guy wanted to make a dance-y, guilty pleasure-like summer hit, and that’s it. The technology used to successfully pull off such an interesting video as “Keep Your Head Up” though now makes him, if nothing else, an Internet sensation and a musician who is willing to embrace this Brave New World of Internet-obsessed music fans.
Or, if you’d rather, an O Music Award winner.
Regardless, MTV did a good job of giving credit to someone who deserved it on a show that should have been filled with this type of stuff. So, long story short, more Andy Grammer-like neatness, and less Lil B-makes-a-song-titled-Justin-Bieber-and-here-is-the-absurdly-awful-video-for-it next year, MTV. And for those of you who are wondering what exactly it was I meant with that last sentence, click here and waste the next three minutes of your life by listening to the insanity that shows up.